Gay Bilson reviews 'Women in Dark Times' by Jacqueline Rose

Gay Bilson reviews 'Women in Dark Times' by Jacqueline Rose

Women in Dark Times

by by Jacqueline Rose

Bloomsbury, $39.99 hb, 351 pp, 9781408845400

Gay Bilson

Gay Bilson

Gay Bilson was, for twenty-five years (1973–1998), a restaurateur and cook in Sydney. She has created and directed several events


In a review of several books on motherhood (LRB, 14 June 2014), Jacqueline Rose – feminist, writer on psychoanalysis, English professor, ‘public intellectual’ – interprets Adrienne Rich’s belief that to give birth is to testify to the possibilities of humanity, as a variation on Hannah Arendt’s formulation, in an essay on totalitarianism, that ‘freedom is identical with the capacity to begin’. As bearers of new lives, women are thus the repositories of tremendous power, which is undermined by the patriarchy. Arendt’s collection of essays Men in Dark Times (1968) provided the framework for Rose’s exhilarating, disturbing, ‘scandalous’ (Rose calls for a ‘scandalous feminism’ in the preface) book, Women in Dark Times.

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Published in March 2015, no. 369